Weight Training or Calisthenics?

When it comes to strength or muscle building, there are many different kinds of training or exercise that come to mind: bodybuilding, power lifting, cross-fit, yoga, cardiovascular training (running, biking, rowing), etc. However, some of these types of training promote other things like conditioning or balance instead of strictly strength & muscle gain. There are two kinds of training, that are very popular today, that are specifically targeted toward strength/muscle gain and they are: Calisthenics & Weight Training (bodybuilding, power lifting, etc). I get asked a lot of what type of training I prefer and what each of them promote. So, I decided I’d give a very brief explanation of both, what I prefer and personally practice, and why I have these beliefs.


Calisthenic training involves any exercises performed using no added weight, and is also referred to as body-weight training. Calisthenic training can be done as a routine all on it’s own, or programmed into any weight loss, bodybuilding or fitness workout. It has many benefits and is convenient, and it can be tailored to suit beginner, intermediate or advanced trainees. Some examples of calisthenic exercises are exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, air squats, pistol squats, plank, & much, much more.

The main benefit of calisthenic training is that it can be done anywhere, and you require minimal equipment to do it. Also, it helps to build muscular strength and endurance, as well as improving bone and joint strength, which aids in preventing injuries. If you’re a beginner, then this method of training is also perfect to help you develop a basic level of coordination, stability and muscular control, before moving on to weighted exercises.

Weight Training

Weight training is a type of strength training that uses weights for resistance. Weight training provides a stress to the muscles that causes them to adapt and get stronger, similar to the way aerobic conditioning strengthens your heart.

Weight training can be performed with free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells, or by using weight machines. At first, weight training may seem intimidating to beginners that are surrounded by huge body builders and are clueless as to what they’re doing in the gym (I see it all the time). But, it’s a lot easier than you think as long as you have a solid training regimen and once you gain some experience you can have fun with it and will love seeing the weight you’re putting up steadily increase!

Which One Is Better?

Now for the debate between the ripped calisthenic junkies and the swole power lifters. Which is better for muscle growth and gaining strength? It really comes down to your preference. If you want to just be huge, strong, and stiff, stick to the weights, bro! If you want to be agile, lean, mobile, and sacrifice some of that raw strength (weaker), calisthenics is for you. Personally, I do both styles of training consistently! I love being an ATHLETE. The definition of a true athlete, to me, is somebody who can do it ALL. If you can bench 350 lbs but can’t do 2 pull-ups, you’re not an athlete. If you can do 50 push-ups straight but can’t bench plates on each side yet, I don’t consider you a TRUE athlete!

I want to be lean, flexible, agile, but also have strength and muscle definition. So, I implement both styles of training into my everyday training regimen and I love it! It’s a slower road towards mastery, since I’m on the path to mastering weights, body-weight exercises, running/cardio, AND yoga/flexibility. But, that’s what life’s about right? Constantly challenging yourself, mind, and body, and doing what makes you happy! If throwing up some heavy ass weight makes you happy and you could care less about how fast your 5k run is, do it than! If being the most flexible person ever makes you happy, and you don’t give two shits if you can bench the bar or not, do that yoga with a smile!

In Conclusion

Ultimately, you should just do what truly brings joy, fulfillment, and happiness to your life. Just always remember to constantly challenge yourself in whatever route you choose to take! Be happy with where you’re at, but stay hungry and never be satisfied. Stay healthy everyone! Peace.

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*References*: mayoclinic.org & livestrong.com

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